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2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Miami Dolphins

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Last year was a mess for the Dolphins, one they hope to put behind them faster than a Mike Wallace go route. The Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito saga still hangs over the franchise's head, and they are desperate to turn the page.

The first move was revamping the offensive line, and they signed free agents at left tackle (Branden Albert) and left guard (Shelley Smith) and spent a first round pick on a right tackle in Ja'Wuan James and a third-round pick on a right guard in Billy Turner. That makes four new starters around center Mike Pouncey, who hopefully will be fine coming off hip surgery in June, and the goal is to help third-year starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked a league-high 58 times in 2013.

They also need to help the running game, which was putrid last year (No. 26 in the NFL), and adding Knowshon Moreno as a free agent should help. And the Dolphins have a new play-caller in Bill Lazor, who was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia last season.

We're not expecting the Dolphins to resemble the Eagles by any stretch, but there's plenty of talent in Miami to help Fantasy owners. Tannehill could emerge as a viable Fantasy quarterback, Moreno has the chance to remain a starting running back and Wallace, Brian Hartline and Charles Clay are either serviceable starters (Wallace) or bye-week replacements (Hartline and Clay).

Lamar Miller and Jarvis Landry also have potential, but the key is the offensive line. As Pouncey said in an interview with CBSSports.com this offseason, "We're going to be ready to go." If you like any of the Dolphins players this year then let's hope Pouncey is right.

Reality after Peyton ... Knowshon Moreno

Moreno never had to worry about extra defenders near the line of scrimmage thanks to Manning and the Broncos passing game. He flourished in 2013 with career highs in rushing yards (1,038), rushing touchdowns (10), catches (60) and receiving yards (548), and he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and had 13 total touchdowns to finish as the No. 5 Fantasy running back in standard leagues.

Maybe Tannehill will earn that same respect to keep defenders concerned about his arm, but he'll never approach Manning's status. And because of that we expect Moreno to take a significant step back in production, along with a knee injury that could sideline him into training camp.

He also has to keep Miller off the field, and the Dolphins offensive line has to prove its worth. Moreno should still be considered a flex option if healthy and is worth drafting in Round 7 or 8 depending on the size of your league. But don't go into your season with Moreno as a starting option because you'll be left disappointed.

Better than you think ... Mike Wallace

Most Fantasy owners are going to look at Wallace's production in 2013 as a disappointment, and rightfully so. He finished the year with 73 catches for 930 yards and a career-low five touchdowns. But if he plays like he did at the end of the season -- he had 29 catches for 396 yards and four touchdowns over the final six games, scoring at least 14 Fantasy points in three of those outings -- then he could rebound in 2014. And it's not a stretch in Lazor's offense.

The Dolphins didn't move Wallace around last year, but Lazor plans to use Wallace like the Eagles did with DeSean Jackson. Giving Wallace some different looks should help his production.

And when the Dolphins featured Wallace he was productive. He had at least nine targets in nine games and he finished with at least eight Fantasy points in seven of those contests.

He's the type of receiver you'll settle for on Draft Day with a mid-round pick as a No. 3 option, but don't be upset about it. If he plays like he did at the end of the season then you'll end up starting him more often than not.

This year's surprise? ... Ryan Tannehill

2013 Touches Leaders
706 total touches
Lamar Miller 203 (177 car., 26 rec.) 28.7%
Daniel Thomas 124 (109 car., 15 rec.) 17.6%
Mike Wallace 76 (3 car., 73 rec.) 10.8%
Charles Clay 76 (7 car. 69 rec.) 10.8%
Brian Hartline 76 rec. 10.8%
All Others 151 21.4%

Lazor was obviously influential in helping Foles have a breakout season with the Eagles last year, and hopefully his tutelage will rub off on Tannehill. It was hard to fully gauge Tannehill's growth in his sophomore campaign in 2013 because of all the sacks, but the potential is there.

He narrowly missed a 4,000-yard season (3,913), and he passed for 24 touchdowns. He also had at least 18 Fantasy points in seven games. But he struggled as well, and he only posted 20 or more Fantasy points three times, starting in Week 13.

The upgrades along the offensive line should help, as will the additions of Moreno and Landry, and Wallace gets another year in the system. We could see Tannehill emerge as a mid-season starter, much like Foles last year, and he's someone to monitor if he goes undrafted in the majority of leagues.

Schedule analysis

Moreno is going to see plenty of familiar faces this year since the Dolphins face the AFC West, including his former team. He had double digits in Fantasy points in at least one meeting with Oakland, Kansas City and San Diego last year, so hopefully he can repeat those performances. And he should be highly motivated to face the Broncos in Denver in Week 12.

The season opens with a home matchup against the Patriots, meaning you might want to avoid Wallace and his showdown with Darrelle Revis. And the Dolphins might not help you much toward the end of the Fantasy season with matchups against Denver, the Jets, Baltimore and New England from Weeks 12-15.

Training camp battles

Who's the No. 1 running back? We're expecting Moreno to start for the Dolphins, if healthy, based on his body of work and performance in 2013, but Miller won't just hand him the job. We'll find out in training camp how Miller responds to being replaced, and keep in mind he's still a talented rusher, who has gotten the majority of offseason work. Maybe the offensive line held him back last year, and the play-calling under then-coordinator Mike Sherman was horrible. If Moreno is out for all of training camp then Miller would start. Both running backs are only worth drafting with mid-round picks.

Who's the No. 3 receiver? Wallace and Hartline are locked into the Top 2 spots on the depth chart, but Brandon Gibson, Landry and possibly Rishard Matthews will compete for the No. 3 role. Gibson was good in that role prior to going down with a knee injury with at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in four of his first six games. But Landry was drafted in the third round after a productive career at LSU, and he has more upside than Gibson. Keep an eye on the battle, and the winner could be worth a late-round flier in deep PPR leagues.

Bold prediction

The Dolphins don't have an easy schedule to open the season with New England, Buffalo and Kansas City in the first three games, and those teams are going to challenge Miami's overhauled offensive line with a heavy pass rush. But if Tannehill can survive and somehow shine, he gets the Raiders in Week 4, which is a favorable matchup. A good performance there will catch Fantasy owners' attention heading into Miami's bye in Week 5, and in Week 6 they are home to Green Bay. Drew Brees will be on a bye that week, so Tannehill can be a definite option to start against the Packers. From that point forward he could develop into a weekly starter if he plays up to his potential.

Injury report

Brandon Gibson (knee), questionable for the start of training camp ... Knowshon Moreno (knee), questionable for the start of training camp ... Mike Pouncey (hip), questionable for the start of season

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Player News
Marshawn Lynch among Seahawks' probables
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:11 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is listed as probable for Week 17 against the Rams.

Lynch was listed on the injury report with a back injury, but has been able to battle through the issue all season. He did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but was able to put in a full practice on Friday.

The team should also have Tony Moeaki and Russell Okung. Both players were listed as probable on the final injury report. 

Cooper Helfet, Chris Matthews, Tharold Simon and Max Unger are listed as questionable, and will be game-time decisions. 

Both Demarcus Dobbs and Jermaine Kearse have already been ruled out for the contest. 


Report: Saints' Jimmy Graham to have MRI on shoulder
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:28 pm ET) Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will have an MRI on his shoulder next week, according to the New Orleans Advocate

Graham initially injured his shoulder back in Week 5, but has been able to play through the injury all season. While his touchdown total has remained solid, Graham's yardage is down this year. It's possible he's more injured than he's let on all season, and the injury is serious enough that the team will send him for the MRI. Once the team has a diagnosis, Graham will evaluate with team doctors.


Rams list Scott Wells, Janoris Jenkins as probable, E.J. Gaines doubtful
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(5:47 pm ET) The Rams have listed center Scott Wells (back) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (back) as probable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks after both were able to participate fully in practice Friday.

Cornerback E.J. Gaines, who is dealing with a concussion, is considered doubtful for the game. If he is unable to go, rookie Lamarcus Joyner or Marcus Roberson could see an uptick in playing time.

The Rams 12 1/2-point underdogs against the Seahawks Sunday.


Cardinals list four as questionable for Sunday against San Francisco
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:32 pm ET) With quarterback Drew Stanton (knee) already declared out, the Cardinals listed four players as questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers including Deone Bucannon (knee), John Carlson (calf), Johnathan Cooper (wrist) and Dan Williams (foot).

Linebacker Larry Foote is also listeed as doubtful for the game with a knee injury. Foote has not missed a game this season, totaling 84 tackles and two sacks.

The Cardinals have also listed the following players as probable: Lorenzo Alexander (knee), Jaron Brown (toe), Calais Campbell (hip), Larry Fitzgerald (knee), Rashad Johnson (ankle), Ted Larsen (shoulder), Tyrann Mathieu (thumb) and Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder).


49ers rule out three for Sunday against the Cardinals
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:25 pm ET) The 49ers have deemed running back Carlos Hyde (ankle), wide receiver Steve Johnson (knee) and safety Eric Reid (concussion) as out for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

It is the second straight game out for both Hyde and Johnson. Hyde finishes his rooke season with 83 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns while Johnson had 35 catches for 435 yards and three touchdowns this year.

Wide receiever Bruce Ellington (hamstring), cornerbacks Tramaine Brock (hamstring) and Perrish Cox (shoulder) and linebacker Ahmad Brooks (thumb) are all listed as questionable.

Michael Crabtree (knee), Chris Culliver (knee), Brandon Lloyd (groin), Marcus Martin (illness) and Justin Smith (back) are all listed as probable.

The 49ers are currently 6 1/2-point favorites against Arizona Sunday.


Lions' Dominic Raiola loses appeal, remains suspended for Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:02 pm ET) Lions center Dominic Raiola's one-game suspension was upheld by the league following his appeal. Raiola received the one-game suspension earlier in the week after stomping on the leg on Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson in Week 16.

The Lions are currently 7 1/2-point underdogs on the road against the Packers in Week 17.


Raiders list seven player on Week 17 injury report
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(5:01 pm ET) The Raiders listed seven players on its final injury report for Week 17 against Denver. Wide receiver Vincent Brown (groin), cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), and wide receiver Denarius Moore (knee, ankle) were ruled out for for Sunday. Cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle), linebacker Khalil Mack (hamstring) and tackle Menelik Watson (foot, ankle) were labeled questionable.

Meanwhile, defensive back Ras-I Dowling (hamstring) got the green light after being a limited participant all week. He was deemed probable for the final game of the season.


Seahawks release defensive tackle Travian Robertson
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(4:50 pm ET) The Seahawks have released defensive tackle Travian Robertson, who played in just one game for Seattle. He recorded just one assisted tackle in the game. 

Robertson was a member of the Atlanta Falcons practice before being signed by the Seahawks Nov. 18. 


Packers head into Week 17 against the Lions fairly healthy
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:40 pm ET) Packers cornerback Davon House will miss Sunday's game against the Lions with a shoulder injury. It will be House's third straight game out because of the injury.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (calf), guards T.J. Lang (ankle) and Josh Sitton (toe) and linebackers Clay Matthews (biceps) and Mike Neal (abdomen) are all listed as probable. Lang, Sitton, Matthews and Neal were all listed as probable on the injury report for Week 16 as well.

The Packers are currently 7 1/2-point favorites against Detroit Sunday.


Chiefs RB Charles, WR Bowe among questionable players for Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:38 pm ET) The Chiefs have ruled quarterback Alex Smith (spleen) and cornerback Phillip Gaines (illness) out for Sunday's Week 17 divisional showdown against the Chargers.

Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (shoulder), running back Jamaal Charles (hamstring, ankle) and guard Zach Fulton (foot, toe) were labeled questionable. Meanwhile, tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), linebacker/defensive end Josh Martin (hand) and inside linebacker Joe Mays (knee) were deemed probable.


 
 
 
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